Russell Williams' victim sues police over 'betrayal'
WARNING: This story contains disturbing sexual and violent details
An Ontario woman who was sexually assaulted by convicted killer Russell Williams says she has filed a $7-million lawsuit against the disgraced former base commander of CFB Trenton, his ex-wife and provincial police because she feels betrayed by the people she thought would protect her.
In an exclusive interview Sunday with the CBC's Dave Seglins with questions screened by her lawyer, Laurie Massicotte said the September 2009 attack and the aftermath of the police investigation of her case has left her almost unable to function.
"I don't even know who I am anymore," she told Seglins. "It's just really bad. I just feel really bad. I don't know what to do. I guess I'm still in shock and I haven't been able to come out of it."
Massicotte filed a statement of claim in the Superior Court of Justice on Friday for damages, including pain, suffering and emotional and mental distress stemming from being bound and sexually assaulted by Williams in September 2009.
Massicotte was Williams's second victim and has accused the Ontario Provincial Police of failing to protect her and give her enough information about a previous sexual assault in the town of Tweed, Ont.
In her statement of claim, Massicotte raises the spectre of another, as-yet-unreported third sexual assault victim, saying she was told by justice officials during Williams's trial that he committed two sexual assaults prior to the night he broke into Massicotte's home.
"The biggest question would be the fact that I wasn't warned about this," she said during the interview. "I wasn't warned about previous incidents."
In the document, Massicotte describes being beaten, tied up at the wrists and blindfolded by Williams, who then sexually assaulted her and took several photographs and videos of her.
About five hours later, after Williams left her home, she managed to dial 911, only to be told not to move — her hands still bound — while police teams investigated for several more hours. She alleges during this time, she was referred to over the police radio as "being crazy."
Massicotte also alleges investigators told her neighbours that she was faking the attack and "copycatting" the earlier attack in the neighbourhood, which she said she wasn't aware of.
She also said she was never taken to the hospital, tested with a rape kit after the attack, or examined for DNA trace evidence. It was only at Williams's trial that she learned he had broken into her home two previous times before the night he assaulted her.
After 12 hours with investigators, she says an officer then apologized and told her a similar incident happened 12 days earlier just down the road from her and police did not warn the public.
"I felt betrayal," she said in the interview. "I felt that they were judging me, they weren't believing me. Lack of empathy. For professionals that I counted on protecting [me], that I always looked up to and didn't feel that I had to live in fear because I felt that they would be there to protect me and everybody, just lack of empathy, not keeping me informed as to what was going on."
In her statement of claim, Massicotte alleges investigators initially excluded Williams as a suspect "due to his position" as the senior military officer in charge of the nearby airbase, and allowed him to pass during surveillance of traffic coming and going from the main highway the day after she was attacked.
According to the document, Williams stopped his vehicle and asked a neighbour waiting for a bus what was going on at Massicotte's house.
In an email to CBC News on Sunday, Det. Insp. Chris Nicholas, the OPP's lead officer on the Williams case who was brought in long after Massicotte's assault, said he could not comment on the claims because of the civil proceedings.
The OPP have always maintained they were not aware of Williams's break-and-enters as they were not reported to police. However, they concede they did not warn the public about the sexual assault until after the second incident.
Victim attempted suicide, struggles with anxiety
Massicotte also alleges one of the local police officers whose daughter went to school with one of her daughters shared information about her assault improperly, and the information was disseminated at school and in the community verbally and by electronic means.
Since the attack, she says she has suffered from alcohol abuse, post-traumatic stress, chronic anxiety disorder and has attempted suicide, and that she and her daughters will require years of therapy to address their emotional and psychological distress.
She said during the interview that the attack was almost exactly two years ago. Massicotte says she thinks about the attack every day and has a hard time sleeping and doing simple tasks.
Williams pleaded guilty to 88 charges and was sentenced last October to two terms of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years for the first-degree murders of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd.
The decorated former commander was also sentenced to 10 years for each of his two charges of sexual assault and two charges of forcible confinement. He was sentenced to one year for each of the other 82 lesser charges he faced.